The Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival is April 26th, 27th and 28th on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Park in Little Rock. Great food, music, competitions, and FUN! All proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas.
Viva Italia! Viva Arkansas!
Tickets are $10 dollars and kids 10 and under are FREE!
Italian History of Arkansas
Henri de Tonti was among the first to arrive in Arkansas, creating the Arkansas Post as a trading outpost and first permanent European settlement in 1686.
Father Pietro Bandini leads the settlement of Tontitown in Washington County in 1898, where Italian immigrants begin planting grape vineyards.
Many agriculture-based and mining jobs were offered to Italians willing to immigrate to Arkansas in the early 1900s; however, workers were often mistreated and were not paid living wages.
Due to the harsh treatment of farming families and unhealthy living conditions, the Italian government halted immigration in the 1920s to a small community in Chicot County.
Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni came to Arkansas with her husband, who became a professor at the University of Arkansas; her poetry earned Rosa acclaim as she became the state’s poet laureate from 1953 to 1970.
In 1900, Andrew Longino becomes the first Italian-American Governor of a Southern state in nearby Mississippi.
Italian Americans have started festivals, established traditions, and made several culinary contributions to Arkansas’s heritage throughout the past two centuries; they continue to contribute to Arkansas’s diverse, unique culture.